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The Perils of Labelling

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A sizeable population in India being mesmerised by Narendra Modi has won him a fan base, and this fan base is known to be loyal beyond logic acquiring the term bhakt or andh bhakt. Bhakt and andh bhakt are loosely used based on the degree of a person’s affinity to support Modi. Blunders like demonetisation, goods and services tax, abrogation of Article 370 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act are viewed as masterstrokes. The BJP has been very successful in labelling the opposition, dissenters and activists with tags as extreme as anti-national, urban Naxal, enemies of the nation, tukde tukde gang and anti-Hindu. This labelling coupled with propaganda fake news from the BJP IT cell has done a great loss to the country’s public engagement within political discourse as people are found resorting to using these problematic and divisive terms against each other on a daily basis, which invites further furore.

The public culture to engage in political discourse is now largely polarised and often takes a violent form in university spaces. This divisiveness is also evidently visible on social media, especially on Twitter where the dialogue involves accusations and abuses more than reasoning. These acts of demonising others lead to nowhere other than shaming each other. Thus, many critics do not even reply beyond their tweets/posts on social media. This situation is also capitalised by television news portals to conduct debates with burning headlines. And, the worst is that the anchors on these news portals are also using the same terminology to outcast the possibility of reason and logic in the debate. The mainstream media networks derailing from the real issues—economy, jobs, women’s safety and rights of minorities—have been very influential in giving a communal angle to politics with headlines like “Ali v/s Bajrang bali.” Thus, many critics and activists who have been voicing their dissent against the BJP government or the radically extremist activities and statements of right-wing organisations/leaders are becoming easy targets to threaten them and use the above-mentioned labels like anti-national, anti-Hindu and urban Naxal.

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Updated On : 21st Feb, 2020

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